SFTBL: ‘Nova ties last year’s win total during tripleheader

Carolyn Brown

After two weeks without playing a single game, the Wildcats (13-8) traveled to Rider University for a tripleheader. The long day proved victorious for the Wildcats as they finished 2-1. Their record ties the number of wins they recorded last season.

The day opened against Rider University and ended quickly after five innings. The Wildcats scored early after a lead-off home run from senior Cassie Koenig. The runs continued to add up throughout the game due to the strong hitting offense from the Wildcats. Singles from sophomore Meghan Morese and freshman Jessica O’Boyle added another run to the board in the top of the first when senior Sheri Donley scored off their back-to-back singles.

In the top of the third, Koenig hit another home run, scoring three, and the Wildcats increased the score 7-0. Two more runs scored in the fourth off an RBI double from O’Boyle and a sacrifice fly from junior Lisa Curran.

Rider scored two runs in the fourth, forcing the Wildcats to need at least one run in order to end the game by a run-rule. Villanova did just that and more as Donley hit a double off the fence, followed by another double from freshman Katie Verruni. Sophomore Lauren Peterson recorded the third double of the inning, and the Wildcats ended their hitting streak with four more runs to end the game 13-2. The Wildcats recorded 17 hits, with all 11 players that entered the game recording at least one. O’Boyle and Donley both finished with three hits each.

“Playing in the Rider tournament this weekend gave us the opportunity to face different types of pitching, as well as being placed in key situations to advance the runners,” O’Boyle said. “With our first Big East weekend approaching, our confidence has grown, knowing that we can hit all different types of pitching, and that will be really pertinent in achieving our goal of making it to the Big East tournament.”

Junior Kat Walsh recorded her first win of the season (1-1), pitching three innings and striking out four.

The hitting power of the Wildcats proved weaker in the second game of the day versus Lafayette University. Lafayette scored three runs early off one home run, a single and a close call at home.

“Lafayette was hitting well, and they were able to advance their runners to be ahead of us by three runs in the third inning,” O’Boyle said. “Falling behind squashed our intensity, and we were unable to string together hits.”

The Wildcats out hit Lafayette but were unable to produce runs when they had runners on base. Unable to cross the plate until the fourth inning, O’Boyle connected with a pitch hitting a line drive over the fence, scoring two runs. With two outs in the inning, Jackie Dempsey nailed the ball over the center fielder’s head for a stand-up double. The ball nearly went over the fence; however, the Wildcats were unable to tie the game.

For the rest of the game, Lafayette held the Wildcats to two and finished the game in a 3-2 decision. Walsh relieved junior Nicci Ward after 2.1 innings.

“By the fourth inning, our pitcher Kat Walsh contained our opponent while we added two runs to the score,” O’Boyle said. “In the last couple of innings, no one could come up with a big hit to at least tie Lafayette, even with Kat’s strong pitching.”

The day closed with the Wildcats’ last game of the season against Monmouth University. Curran got the offense started in the third inning after an at bat count of 0-2. Working the count back to full, Curran nailed the ball over the right center field fence to score the first run of the game. With the momentum on their side, the Wildcats produced two more runs when Koenig hit her third home run of the day with two outs. Curtis followed her lead, hitting a double down the left field line and scoring off a single hit by Morese.

Donley hit a single in the fifth that produced another run for the Wildcats. The game ended in a 4-3 decision. Sophomore Laura Determan recorded the win with 10 strikeouts, allowing only six hits and three runs. This is the fourth time this season she has reached double-digits in strikeouts.

The Wildcats now prepare for their first Big East weekend; they head to Louisville tomorrow and USF on Sunday.

“In the Big East conference, we will play tough competition and need to be sharp in all aspects of the game,” O’Boyle said. “We have the talent to hit and score runs on any pitcher and the defense to stop our opponent from scoring. Once we take a lead in the game, we can not be content and need to keep pushing away. However, if we fall behind, we must keep our intensity up, knowing that we have the talent to come back and outscore our opponent.”